NAACP’s Rebecca Lynn Guerra on Young Activists
1 year ago
“Young people bring new perspective, ideas, and energy to campaigns we’ve been fighting for years.”
In advance of the NAACP’s 8th Annual Leadership 500 Summit, which will hit Destin, Florida, May 24 through 27, we sat down with the New Guard of the 103-year-old civil rights organization to discuss the biggest issues impacting African Americans today and what we can do about them. These five dynamic young women are leading the march toward equality in these decidedly turbulent times. Today, we talk to Rebecca Lynn Guerra, Region VII Field Director.
Name: Rebecca Lynn Guerra
Title: Region VII Field Director
Joined NAACP staff in: 2010
Previous NAACP Position: Program Specialist in Criminal Justice and Education
Loop 21: What drew you to the NAACP?
Guerra: I was drawn to the NAACP because of its history as the leader in the fight for justice and civil rights. On any given day, my work covers a wide variety of topics: One minute I am focused on the death penalty, and in the next meeting I have to focus on voting rights. I work with unit leaders, Youth and College chapter leaders, state conference presidents, national board members and staff. Every day is unique and the work is always changing. Being the first Latina field director was something we realized only after I had been hired in this position. President Jealous and Vice Chairman Russell did some research into our history and determined that indeed I am the first Latina to hold this position in the 103 years of our Association. It is a fabulous opportunity for me to expand our focus to incorporate collaboration with the Latino community and Latino organizations. As leaders of the fight for civil rights, the NAACP is committed to serving all communities, and this is a chance for us to enhance our coalition work.
[Also Read: NAACP’s Niaz Kasravi on Criminal Justice]
Loop 21: What is your background in the activist arena?
Guerra: I started with organizing at the campus level at the University of Florida with the Campus ACLU. Organizing on a campus with over 52,000 students was a training ground for working with a wide variety of students and a large constituency. As a leader in Student Government, I continued working on behalf of my peers on campus. I pursued a Masters degree in campaign management, which helped me marry my love for organizing with a deeper knowledge of campaign management and voter behavior. I worked with a heavily Hispanic population in New Mexico during the 2008 cycle. It was an amazing experience that confirmed my love for working on the ground and interacting with the people in the field. In DC, I began working in the choice community, working with NARAL Pro-Choice America with the affiliates across the country and the DC area volunteers. But I really wanted to expand my work to include more social justice issues and to work for expansion of civil rights for all. I found a great fit in the NAACP.
Loop 21: What is the biggest issue facing members in the Mid-Atlantic Region?